This is my attempt at making a super-minimal enclosure for a mini-ITX-based PC. I was inspired by the 2nd-gen Ryzen APUs, which offer excellent multi-core CPUs with surprisingly powerful built-in GPUs. In conjunction with a tiny M.2 SSD, they pack a lot of punch in a small space! I tried to be true to this in my design, making it as compact as possible without sacrificing power or convenience.
Frambox includes separate models for each side, which incorporate a locking system that holds them together with just one 60mm screw in each corner. In order to keep the system lookng as clean as possible, the top lid just snaps on. The base includes little pegs to aid in cable management. Ventilation is provided by the exposed CPU cooler; I know it is not safe for small fingers but was too cool not to do.
The case should be able to accomodate other mini-ITX motherboards, but depending on its configuration you might need to move or delete some of the base's cable-management pegs, as they were designed to fit around the M.2 SSD which mounts on the bottom of the MSI motherboard I used. The top cutout for the cooler should be fairly easy to move in Fusion 360, as I dimensioned all the relevant features.
Each panel is a separate STL file (and a separate body in the Fusion 360 file), meant to be printed flat. The first layer will be the outside of each piece, giving you a nice smooth finish. (Or if you're luckier than me and have a powder-coated PEI print bed, you'll be able to get a nice textured surface!) They have no overhangs over 45 degrees, so no supports are necessary. I've only included the left side panel in the design; you can simply mirror it for the right side. (Don't try to print two left sides; the side panel is not symmetrical.)
The system I built for this case includes the following components:
- MSI B450I Gaming Plus mini-ITX motherboard
- Ryzen 2400G 3.6GHz processor
- 16 gigabytes of 3000MHz RAM
- 256-gigabyte M.2 SSD
- Front panel USB and SD card ports
The system is quite speedy, and runs Fusion 360 like a dream. The on-board GPU is even good enough for some light gaming!
For my power supply, I used a Pico Switch power supply that plugs directly into the motherboard power connector, along with a 144-watt external power brick. I cannot vouch for the quality of these particular units, but they are working well for me so far.
The front panel ports were probably the trickiest to do, because I had to find very compact parts without long bulky cables:
Finally, because this computer will be part of my 3D printing station, I really wanted to include an SD card reader. I finally found a used Front SD card Reader Slot on eBay. I would welcome any ideas for other sources! Please let me know if you find another good option.
To assemble the case, you'll need 4 10mm M3 screws for the motherboard standoffs, 4 60mm M3 screws for the case mounts, and 8 M3 nuts. (The Fusion 360 file includes parameters you can change if you want to use different size screws.)
Before starting, think about your cable management! There's not a lot of room inside, so try to find the shortest and thinnest cables you can get away with. If you're more adventuresome than I am, you can probably shorten the wires and make your own wiring harnesses to make it super clean inside. You can tuck many of the wires between and around the pegs in the base before mounting the motherboard to hold them in place.
Each side panel includes a wide tab which slides into a matching slot on the side of the base. The panels must be placed in order: rear first, then sides, and finally the front. Tabs on each panel stack to make a single screw slot; slide the 60mm screw into the slot and into the nut on the bottom of the base. The top should simply snap into place.
Frambox's footprint is only slightly larger than the motherboard
Some cable management can be done before mounting the motherboard using the pegs
The side panels screw into the base in each corner
The front panel brackets will need to be customized for the ports you want to use
The design uses parameters to make customization easy (well, easier :) )